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10 Reasons Data Centers Fail

Operators sometimes make common mistakes that can lead to data center outages. Most outages can be avoided through proper maintenance, procedures, and common sense.
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An "unplanned data center outage" is a polite way to say that a data center failed. Whether the root cause is a hardware failure, software bug, or human error, most failures can -- and should -- be prevented. With the high level of redundancy built into today's data center architectures, prevention is very much possible.

The interesting thing is, data center failures still happen all the time. Considering the incredible cost per minute lost during a full outage, you'd think that they would be far more rare. If data center managers simply focused on fixing the main reasons failures commonly occur, they would significantly reduce the risk of catastrophic outage.

The problem is that so many data center operators are heavily focused on growth instead of the care and feeding of what's already in place. If you watch administrators in many public and private data centers these days, you'll find that they are focused largely on increasing capacity, boosting server density, and retrofitting aging server rooms into more modern facilities with more efficient cooling systems. While all this is fantastic and shows the incredible growth in the data center industry, it also highlights why we commonly see outages.

On the following pages, we're going to get back to data center basics. We'll present 10 common reasons why data centers fail. Click through and think about how these common outages might one day surface in your data center. While not every failure scenario may match your data center architecture, we're confident that at least a few topics we mention will hit home and make you think about what you can do to shore up your facility.

And if you have any additional thoughts, tips, or stories that may help your fellow administrators avoid an outage, please share them in the comments below.

(Image: 123Net / Wikimedia Commons)

 

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
11/13/2015 | 7:48:46 PM
Re: Interesting
Glad you liked this @frankun! Thanks for chiming in.
frankun
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frankun,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/13/2015 | 5:34:56 AM
Interesting
Thank you for this interesting article.

I learn a lot about Data Centers :)
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
11/12/2015 | 12:13:51 PM
Re: data center outages
I see, thanks for sharing that virsingh. Sounds like the testing is kind of a double-edged sword then.
virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Ninja
11/11/2015 | 10:09:06 PM
Re: data center outages
Power failure testing is something where stakeholders nerves dont flow well, some DC owners dont perform these type of testing in fear of outage. I remember when i was working for small sized datacenter in my early days where such infra testing were hardly taken into consideration and it was not due to cost but due to fear of outage or loosing revenue traffic.
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Strategist
11/10/2015 | 4:20:13 PM
Re: data center outages
Enterprise network monitoring tools have the ability to alert on battery replacements after a set time elapsed. But for the most part, these types of things can be handled with a shared outlook calendar and a data center manager with the proper mindset of proactive maintenance.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
11/10/2015 | 3:52:27 PM
data center outages
Andrew, thanks for all these tips and common sense guidance. Are there tools that can help manage some tasks, like reminders on battery replacements and power failure testing?
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